“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17
Quite possibly the Psalm that I have frequented the most is Psalm 51. Perhaps because I find myself in desperate need of God’s forgiveness regularly, or maybe because I have lots to confess and lack the words appropriate to cry out to the Lord…whatever the reason that draws me repeatedly to this heartfelt plea for God’s mercy, I am nonetheless indebted to King David, who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit penned these beautiful words of brokenness and confession.
You might remember well the story linked to this Psalm. David, King of Israel, fell into adultery with Uriah the Hittite’s wife (Bathsheba), and she became pregnant by David. Since her husband was away in battle, there was no possibility that this child could be his. To cover up this sin, David had Uriah sent to the front lines of battle, thus sealing his fate. Uriah was killed, leaving David now guilty of adultery and murder. Although David had done what he felt was needed to cover up his sin, God was not fooled. The prophet Nathan was sent by God with a harsh rebuke for David for his horrific sin, and the beautiful words of Psalm 51 are the result of this divine confrontation.
God is able to make beauty out of brokenness. A heart that is in agreement with God over the matter of sin is one that God takes great delight in. The sacrifice that God desires that we bring is a broken and contrite heart, a heart that is grieved over personal sin. This Godly sorrow produces true repentance, a complete turning from sin. This is beautiful; this is the desire of God’s heart, that our hearts would break over everything that breaks His heart.
Praise fills my heart as I type these words, knowing that God is able to make beautiful things out of us, even the ugliest parts of our brokenness. “For He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
1. Using the words of Psalm 51, journal your own prayer of confession and repentance to the Lord.
2. Reflect on God’s faithfulness – how have you seen God turn your brokenness into something beautiful?